HOLLAND, Mich.-- Trine was able to force overtime after trailing the entire contest, but fell to Hope 73-63 in OT in MIAA-action Saturday afternoon at DeVos Fieldhouse.
The Thunder never led in the contest, but were able to force OT despite trailing by as much as 10 in the second half. The Flying Dutchmen owned the extra period however, outscoring Trine 16-6 to earn the victory. Harrison Blackledge scored 27 points on 9-of-13 shooting and added eight rebounds to pace Hope. Jared Holmquist (Reed City, Mich./Reed City) scored 27 points, grabbed six rebounds and added two blocks to lead Trine. The outcome of the contest, combined with Calvin's loss to Alma, locks the Thunder, Flying Dutchmen and Knights into a three-way tie for first in the MIAA. All three teams are 13-6 overall, 6-2 in league play.
Will Dixon (Indianapolis, Ind./Zionsville) added 17 points and dished out three assists for Trine. Jake Bagley (Van Wert, Ohio/Van Wert) scored 11 points and came away with five steals. The Thunder shot 39 percent from the floor (20-of-53), and knocked down 19-of-21 (91 percent) from the free throw line.
The Flying Dutchmen outrebounded Trine by a 37-23 margin. Hope's 10 offensive rebounds produced 12 second-chance points. The Dutch bench outscored their Thunder counterparts by a 21-2 margin. Hope shot 47 percent (22-of-47) from the field and knocked down 22-of-26 free throws (85 percent).
Trine trailed by as much as 10, and faced a nine-point deficit with 6:29 to play before fighting back to force OT. After Dixon cut the deficit to one twice, Holmquist grabbed an offensive board, drew a foul, and sank a pair of free throws to tie the score at 55-apiece in the closing minutes.
Blackledge answered with a short jumper at the other end, but Holmquist once again drew a foul and knocked down both free throws. Each team got a defensive stop on the final possessions, and the game headed to overtime.
Blackledge proved big in the extra stanza, as the Hope big man scored nine points. His old-fashioned three-point play pushed the Dutch lead to two possessions for the first time. A later Alex Eidson three, followed by a Blackledge jumper and a Trine turnover led to a six-point Hope lead. The Dutch closed it out at the free throw line without allowing the Thunder to score the rest of the way.
Trine will host Adrian this Wednesday, Feb. 4 at 7:30 p.m. in Hershey Hall. The game could prove to be huge in the race for conference seeding. A Bulldog win would give Adrian the season sweep and the tiebreak over Trine in any potential tie in the MIAA standings.